Mara Group, the pan-African technology firm building phones and applications for various use cases in the continent has launched Mara Wallet.
Mara Wallet is a crypto-exchange platform where users can buy, sell, send and withdraw fiat currency and the top 30 cryptocurrencies by volume.
The Nairobi-based firm wants to tap into the growing interest in crypto and blockchain as well as other Web 3.0 products that are gaining popularity globally and across the continent.
Sub-Saharan Africa reportedly grew the volume of cryptocurrency transactions by 16% this year. It’s still the lowest in comparison to other regions globally, but a clear indicator of increased interest and uptake of the technology.
“Many times, when people think about crypto, they think about it purely from a Western perspective, and they think about it purely as a consumer tool for investment,” said Chi Nnadi co-founder and CEO of Mara, “I came to crypto because I wanted to solve a real problem that existed in Nigeria.”
Mara raised a $23 million seed round in May backed by prominent crypto investors including Coinbase Ventures and FTX-affiliated Alameda Research.
Nnadi says that Mara Crypto Wallet has already registered over 3 million users on its waitlist. Nigeria has the highest number of people who have expressed interest to transact on the platform.
Once all systems are in place, he said, the platform will be rolled out to other countries including Ghana and Kenya. There are no timelines given for these developments.
The platform will allow users to use a local currency wallet and another one issued through Mara’s U.K subsidiary which will give them access to dollars, pounds and euros, to make it easy for them to trade cryptocurrencies. Users will be charged a fee from 0.5% to 1.5% for trades.
The CEO believes that the platform is “about building the crypto infrastructure for Africa.” In that sense, its unique proposition is catering more for the needs of African users by facilitating sending of money and trading between currencies.